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Meeting about sewer unlikely before Nov. 5

October 29, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

A meeting that Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner wanted to be held before the Nov. 5 general election between the Hagerstown City Council and the Washington County Commissioners to try to resolve a dispute over a sewer agreement is not going to come about, the commissioners president said Monday.

Unless the Hagerstown City Council has changed its position on the sewer agreement, he does not see any reason to meet before the election, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

"That's ridiculous," Hagerstown Councilman Carol Moller said, when told of Snook's remark. "I think it's important that we talk."

The best way to resolve the issue is to meet in person, Breichner and Moller said.

All five commissioner seats are up for grabs in the Nov. 5 election. All of the incumbent commissioners except John Schnebly are seeking re-election.

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At an Oct. 9 council meeting, Breichner said a meeting between the two bodies might resolve some misunderstandings.

A majority of City Council members have said they want a proposed Hagerstown-Washington County sewer agreement changed. They want a section of the agreement that states the city "shall" accept new sewer customers from certain areas outside the city changed to read that the city "may" accept those customers.

The commissioners have opposed the change.

The "shall" vs. "may" disagreement is holding up proposed amendments to the sewer agreement that would enable the city and county sewer systems to be connected.

If the council and commissioners can't meet by Nov. 5, then Breichner said he would at least like the two groups to meet before the next commissioners take office.

Snook said he was agreeable to a meeting before December but he did not think a meeting could be arranged in the next week.

Commissioners Vice President Paul L. Swartz said he had no objection to meeting during the next week.

The sooner the city and county can meet to try to resolve the matter, the better, Swartz said.

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